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Teenagers should 'clean up' their social media profiles when applying for jobs

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 15, 2014

Comments (15)

TEENAGERS are being advised to create a positive online presence to impress future employers or universities.

With many employers now looking at social media profiles, careers advisers are warning youngsters to be aware of what they post online.

It needs more than a tidy CV for the next generation of job-hunters, with parents being advised to make sure their offspring are aware of how they are presented in the online world.

Steve Weldon, student guidance manager at Gloucestershire College, said his team offer advice to students on how to make the most of their web presence.

“Teenagers need to constantly realise that everything they post online is available for people to see,” he said.

“They need to ensure that their social media profiles only show employers what they want them to see.

“They have to give off the right impression online.

“Employers do look at it.”

However, Mr Weldon also said that social media is a great way of enhancing chances of getting a job by using it to network, set up video CVs or create a profile on LinkedIn.

“It is a double edged sword,” he said.

“But it comes down to profile branding which is a growing term.

“Understanding that everything you put online is all part of building your own brand and that needs to be something that is positive.”

In a recent survey by arbitration service Acas, 45 per cent of those involved in hiring staff said they were already using social media tools in recruitment, including screening candidates by viewing their profiles.

Mark Owen, chairman of the Gloucester branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, said more and more firms are looking at social media during the recruitment process.

“It’s not something that I have done however without a shadow of a doubt more businesses are doing it,” he said.

“Recruiting someone is a serious investment in a company.

“The repercussions of getting it wrong are huge on both sides.

“Everybody should be aware of their online persona and the way they portray themselves online.

“Young people need to think twice about what they put out there for the world to see.

“At the same time employers should remember that they were young once.”

Peter Carr, deputy chief executive, GFirst LEP added: “Young people need to carefully consider the images and content of what they post on social media sites as it could potentially be viewed by prospective employers to help assess their suitability for the role in terms of their personal capabilities, skills, education, experience and conduct in the workplace.

"If any young person aged over 18 would like some support or advice with applying for work and training please contact our Employment and Skills Team on 0800 002 9838."

How can parents help?

Understand how your teenager is presenting themselves online by following these key steps:

• Search for your teenager’s name online, along with their home town, school or club and see what appears – if any of their social media posts show up in the searches, advise them to change their privacy settings to ‘friends’ only

• Assess what different types of devices your teenager has access to, for example games consoles, computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones and web cams – ensure these are securely managed

• Know which social networking sites your teenager is using, for example Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online chat – help them optimise privacy and security settings.

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  • RoadWombat  |  April 17 2014, 11:03PM

    Not only are police officers banned from joining the BNP but they can take no active part in politics, can only live where the Chief Constable agrees, have their wives and close associates ckecked, cannot run a business nor take any sort of additional employment without permission, can have no link to licensed premises etc. etc. Many similar restrictions apply within the armed forces. And yet people complain when a business, which is exploring whether or not to invest a large amount of money in a potential candidate for employment, want to check them out!

  • Steve_BPE  |  April 17 2014, 12:47PM

    Thanks Socrates, good chatting with you.

  • uk_socrates  |  April 17 2014, 12:18PM

    @Steve_BPE Thankyou for your response, and keep up the blog!. The whole Paris Brown Twitter affair was very interesting!. (Had checks been carried out beforehand, a media storm could of been avoided). I personally find the POLICE/BNP issue very odd. As the BNP is a legal political party. (Some people do attach racist attitudes to the party, and I can fully understand the police wanting to distance themselves from such things) However it is a political party that occasionally comes third or fourth in European Elections and does have several MEP's. A police officer should be sacked if their useless at their job or show clear breach of their contract. Just because someone supports the BNP it doesn't necessarily make them a racist. (Not that long ago UKIP was also accused of being racist, but attitudes and mainstream media has shifted its view on previously taboo topics like immigration, E.U integration and so on) Obviously this is an extreme example, and personally I am not going to loose any sleep on the issue, at the end of the day the police probably don't get that many applications coming through where people tick the "BNP supporter box" anyway. But as someone that has previously applied to the police, I found it to be an odd question. I am a UKIP supporter, but that doesn't make me a racist, far from it, I still have a Malcom X poster above my bed, and Martin Luther King is a great inspiration to all humans. However I have a right as a taxpayer to speak up about the impact that immigration has on local schools and hospitals and affordable housing. You make reference to some very valid points, and the BNP issue is something I keep an eye on, even though I have no personal interest. I remember the story about the BNP bus driver, which again I found very odd. How did him being a BNP member impact his ability to drive a bus? It didn't. But thanks for the debate.

  • Steve_BPE  |  April 17 2014, 9:25AM

    @UKSocrates, thanks Socrates, couple of very interesting points you raise. The police ban on BNP members is obviously to protect the reputation of the force, but it has yet to be tested at court level ( as far as i am aware). European Rights give freedom of association, so any BNP member bringing a claim against the police for such actions would have a very good case. Difefrenet area obviously, but there was a recent case of a bus driver sacked for being a BNP member who won his Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal. With regards to the facebook password point, i remember it very well. Not a chance that would be allowed here. Right to Privacy, Data Protection etc would see to that.

  • uk_socrates  |  April 16 2014, 3:55PM

    @Steve_BPE Interesting blog. "Now for a bit of good news. Whilst the actual checking of social media accounts is perfectly legal, what the employer or potential employer can do with that information is limited. For example an employee/candidate cannot be discriminated against for political or religious reasons or for reasons to do with their sexuality, all of which some people are more than happy to post their views on after a few too many down the Dog and Duck on a Saturday night (seriously, check your newsfeed on a Sunday morning!)." Not true. You cant join the police if your a member of the BNP (which is a political party). Likewise I am sure there are many unreported cases where people possibly came close to being hired, but a quick glance at social media profile then lead to rejection. Also there was a time in the USA several years ago now where employers asked for social media passwords. (Found ONE UK case) http://tinyurl.com/7rv3g3j http://tinyurl.com/kjonwux http://tinyurl.com/px3yxp6 http://tinyurl.com/6q9esgf

  • uk_socrates  |  April 16 2014, 3:36PM

    @RoadWombat, Trying people out for a few days is a great idea for a lot of jobs. Obviously CEO, MP's and more senior positions is a little different. Actually a lot of businesses do TRY PEOPLE OUT in the form of probationary periods. My point is that is might be nice for candidates to have a teaser day or two where they can get to understand the job more, facilities, people (sometimes you can quickly tell if the people at the new office/store etc are going to be easy to get along with). Internships used to be a good idea, but then companies started to exploit interns. People should be relatively free to do what they want in their free time, the last thing we need is some kind of corporate take over of our entire lives. Humans are not robots, and we sometimes make mistakes. Also a lot of people lie on their CV and some people have got very good at blagging their way through meaningless interviews. Also a lot of people now use an online alias or simply limit public access to their profiles making it harder for companies/employers to spy on them in the first place.

  • Steve_BPE  |  April 16 2014, 1:11PM

    hmm, it appears Citizen doesnt approve of links being posted. Google; Steve Conlay Muddywall to read the article

  • Steve_BPE  |  April 16 2014, 1:10PM

    All, I advise on employment law and a lot of my clients continually monitor social media, lawfully. I drafted a quick article on it here null

  • RoadWombat  |  April 16 2014, 11:45AM

    I don't disagree with you, Jemmy, but unfortunately, particularly if a public figure is involved, the risk is that it's the media who will rake through this sort of stuff and cause problems for the employer later on. You can see the headlines - "X employs former Nazi" or: "Y allowed Z to drive their van, knowing from their faceache page that they had a drink problem.." Trying out candidates for a couple of days tells you very little (they don't know the job nor had a chance to form relationships) and what you do in your own time is, very much, an employer's business if he doesn't want his company brought into disrepute.

  • JemmyWood  |  April 15 2014, 8:36PM

    You can look at it two ways when dealing with teenagers. You can deal with it the well publicised way Dick Graham did when he had a student applied for work experience in his office.... Found a tweet/social media post from the distant past, took the moral high ground, made a mountain out of a mole hill in the paper, refused them work experience and alienated a teenager.... Basically the WRONG way. Or you can look past an old social media post and see the actual person for who they are and more importantly... Who they can become.